Date of Graduation

5-2021

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Food Science (MS)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Food Science

Advisor

Philip Crandall

Committee Member

Lawton Lanier Nalley

Second Committee Member

Han-Seok Seo

Keywords

Consumer Preferences, International Trade, Rice, Sensory Evaluation, Sustainability

Abstract

The authors were perplexed by the seeming dichotomy between the majority 70% of Haitian consumers being chronically food insecure, but still preferring to pay premium international market prices for long-grain rice that constitutes 30% of the calories in this poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. The aim of this study was to determine the optimal percent broken rice in regards to price specifically to Haiti. Optimization between quality and price point is seen as the best rice for the price, and can be found through combining individual preferences with willingness to pay. Broken rice (brokens) garner a significantly discounted price compared to the whole grains, despite offering very similar, if not the same or better, nutritional quality. Through analyzing rice samples with concurrent surveys from 300 Haitians, we were able to determine that brokens have a relatively small effect on consumer preferences in Haiti. This indicted that less strict import standards on broken percentage of rice could benefit the welfare of Haitians in need of discounted food supply. To supplement these findings, a sensory study in the University of Arkansas Sensory Service Center was conducted with the aim of determining brokens’ impact on rice consumers both pre-purchase and post-cooking. Broken rice is sold at a significant discount worldwide, and this study aimed at understanding why that discount persists and if the discounts perpetuated by producers are aligned with consumers’ willingness to purchase broken rice. Through testing rice-eating consumers’ perception of the same rice samples in their raw and cooked forms with percentage broken being the only independent variable (in incremental percentages of 5%, 10%, 20%, 30%, and 40%), the results showed that the raw rice’s appearance with high levels of brokens is disproportionately affecting the broken rice market

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